Ah, what more could possibly go wrong with the Oakland Raiders? Several years back, they were a force to be reckoned with for any playoff-bound team. It used to be a nightmare to have to go play in Oakland. People were fearful of what the Raiders could do.
And then suddenly...it all vanished.
Aaron Brooks, for some reason, began to lose his touch. Randy Moss was injured, and it just didn't seem like his heart was in the game. Everything just started to go downhill. No one really knew why, but everyone knew to take advantage of the Raiders while they could.
We all know what happened after that—Randy Moss went to the Patriots in the trade of the century (for the Patriots), Aaron Brooks was released, and the Raiders tried to rebuild.
Last year, they took a chance on LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the hopes that he could re-ignite that spark that their offense used to have. Russell missed most of training camp and only played in two games that season.
In this year's draft, Oakland hoped that Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would become a home run threat in the Raider system. He has been injured for some of the season and hasn't exactly been great in games.
With the talent on this team, why can't they play better? JaMarcus Russell has a cannon for an arm and should be able to throw for at least 250-300 yards per game.
With Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden in the backfield, why isn't the running game more explosive? McFadden has great speed in certain situations, while Fargas is the all-around back who can bowl a linebacker over if needed.
Even their defense has suffered. Warren Sapp, a future Hall of Famer, retired in the offseason. That left a gaping hole on their defensive line that very few players could fill. Derrick Burgess is not the pass rusher he once was, but it seems that Oakland has sucked out whatever life he had left in him.
Their lone bright star has been cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who has been called the league's top cover corner several times. But his numbers have been down as well.
The linebackers have the potential to be stellar, but things just don't ever seem to swing their way when it's crunch time.
You want to know the strangest part about this? All of this happened for a reason. It's not because the team is in Oakland. It's not because the players aren't at a high enough level. It's not because the coaches aren't up to snuff.
The reason the Raiders are always at the bottom of the league can be summed up in two little words:
Yes, my friends. Everyone in football knows about Al Davis. The man knows his football, but he also knows how to kill football. He thought that he could rebuild the Raiders all by himself like a big boy, so you know what he did?
In this last offseason, he went out and spent $70 million on free agent cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Seventy million dollars for a guy who was an average corner for most of the year! He might have a good game every now and then, but DeAngelo Hall is not worth that much.
Davis also thought it would be smart to go out and spend $50 million on Tommy Kelly. Let's give this some thought. Before this season, how many people had heard of Tommy Kelly? Okay, how many have ever seen him in a Pro Bowl? Has ever been mentioned among the best?
No? I didn't think so. Tommy Kelly has played for five years, and he has only 14 sacks to show for it. He has one this season. Obviously $50 million was a little too much, huh, Al?
He also thought it was a genius move to fire Lane Kiffin. Lane Kiffin might be young, but he is a good coach. He had potential to be a great coach. He had that it factor that spurred on his players to always play their hearts out no matter the score.
He was a good coach because he knew the situation and what would be best for it. Things might not have exactly thrived under him, but what can you expect from a young coach? These things take time.
So I say it again: The Oakland Raiders can trace all of their problems back to "the Man." Al Davis has made some of the dumbest decisions regarding his players and coaches. Most owners are content to sit back and watch how their team does.
Al Davis seems to think it's his personal goal in life to wreck everything that the Raiders organization has tried to build. I think most people are getting tired of it.
So I can finally say this with my head held high, and I know that most people will give a hearty nod in agreement: The Oakland Raiders would be far better off without Al Davis.